Technology Sep 22

Social media coalition promised to curb harmful content

Under-siege tech company offers user privacy olive branch to stanch efforts to ban app 

by Munsif Vengattil and Rama Venkat
TikTok proposes social media coalition to curb harmful content
TikTok did not name the companies it had reached out to but said it had proposed a meeting between the firms to discuss the matter. Photo: AFP

TikTok has proposed a global coalition of social media firms for early identification and removal of harmful content, the company said on Tuesday, as networking apps face a barrage of criticism over issues ranging from misinformation to data privacy.

The company, owned by China's ByteDance and at the centre of a political battle between Washington and Beijing, said it had sent letters to nine companies for a memorandum of understanding on content moderation.

Individual content review efforts by each platform can be advanced through a formal and collaborative approach, the short-video app said.

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TikTok did not name the companies it had reached out to but said it had proposed a meeting between the firms to discuss the matter.

 The app, a relative newcomer to the social media landscape, has had fewer instances of wrestling publicly with the persistent content moderation scandals that have dogged larger and more entrenched competitors like Facebook and Twitter.

Separately, TikTok said on Tuesday it had removed over 104 million videos from its platform globally in the first half of the year for violating its terms of service.

"Of those videos, we found and removed 96.4% of videos before a user reported them, and 90.3% were removed before they received any views," TikTok said in its transparency report.

The company said it got 1,768 requests for user data, with 290, or 16.4%, of those from U.S. law enforcement agencies.

ByteDance has been racing to avoid a crackdown on TikTok after being at loggerheads with the U.S. government. U.S. officials have expressed concerns that personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app is being passed on to China's Communist Party government. 

  • Reuters